Liverpool city


Located on the north-western coast of UK where the river Mersey meets Irish Sea is the maritime mercantile city of Liverpool, once the Second City of British Empire. As the main port for the world's biggest colonial power, it was the location of mass movement of people, including slaves and emigrants from northern Europe to America and beyond. It is also a centre for innovation.

Liverpool's iconic waterfront is the face that the city projected to the rest of the world. It is a pioneer in the development of modern dock technology, transport systems and port management, and building construction which has had worldwide influence.

Liverpool's rise from a tiny insignificant hamlet to global domination of maritime trade, fuelled by its notorious role in the transatlantic slave trade, has given it a chequered reputation. As a major commercial port at the time of Britain's greatest global influence, it contributed to the development of the British Empire and became a world trade centre. It attracted people from all over the world who have contributed to the rich social fabric of the city. Liverpool can boost of having the oldest Chinese community in Europe, the oldest African community in UK, a large Irish population, and a mixed community including Bengalis, Arabs and Somalians making up its nearly half a million population - all of whom are identified as 'Scousers' or 'Liverpudlians'.

An extensive period of growth and innovation in architecture and cultural activities during the 19th and early 20th centuries gave way to sharp slump post the Second World War. Declining industries, recession, high unemployment and social problems led to a fast deterioration of this once powerful city. Music and arts provided solace during the 1960s.

Today, Liverpool shines at the heart of the European cultural scene, gaining multiple accolades ranging from UNESCO World Heritage Site status (2004) to European Capital of Culture (2008). It has the second largest collection of listed buildings in UK after London and is well-endowed with museums and galleries and a rich artistic heritage.

Map of Liverpool

Liverpool map

  • Origin of the name

    It is unclear where Liverpool got its name from. The city began as a tidal pool next to the river Mersey. In 1190 it was known as 'Liuerpul', meaning a pool or creek with muddy water. Over the centuries the name evolved with different spellings, for example Lyuerpole, Lytherpole, Litherpoole, to eventually Liverpool.

    The 'Pool' part refers to pool or inlet (where Whitechapel and Paradise Street now exist) which flowed into the River Mersey. The 'Liver' part is more highly debated. Some historians refer to 'livered' slow flowing water in the stream due to the amount of weeds growing in it like liverwort. Others interpret it as mythical liver or similar water loving bird that said to exist in the area.

    Ancient times: Tiny hamlet

    Liverpool was originally a tiny hamlet of fisherman before the town was founded in the 13th century. They were clustered around modern day Central Library area of the city centre, which is the oldest part of Liverpool.

    But the hamlet was was so small and insignificant it didn't even warrant a mention in William the Conquer's Doomsday Book (Great Survey) of 1086. Therefore, Liverpool was unaware and untouched by momentous changes taking place in England under the Norman Rule.

    1207: King John's Borough

    King John put Liverpool on the map when he decided to develop it as a supply port for his forces trying to extend his Irish land. In 1207 he made it into a borough by granting a Royal Charter written in Latin. The establishment of the new borough was advertised as 'Livpul'.

    The English had recently conquered Ireland and the king needed another port to send men and supplies across the Irish Sea. King John started a weekly market by the pool. In those days there were very few shops so if you wanted to buy or sell goods you had to go to a market. Once a market was up and running at Liverpool craftsmen and tradesmen would come to live in the area.

    As well as a weekly market the king gave the citizens of Liverpool the right to hold an annual fair. In the Middle Ages a fair was like a market but it was held only once a year for a period of a few days. A Liverpool fair would attract buyers and sellers from all over northwest England.

    7 H-shaped roads of Livpul

    Around the same time as granting the royal charter, King John is said to have designed the original street plan of Liverpool which comprised of just 7 streets, laid out in 'H' shape. These were: Bank Street (now Water Street), Castle Street, Chapel Street, Dale Street, Juggler Street (now High Street), Moor Street (now Tithebarn Street), and Whiteacre Street (now Old Hall Street). They are located in the city centre near the Pier Head.

    King John also divided the land at Liverpool into plots called burgages on which people could build houses. He invited people to come and live in Liverpool. Then in 1229 the king granted the people of Liverpool another charter. This time he gave the merchants of Liverpool the right to form themselves into an organisation called a guild to protect their interests. In many medieval towns the Merchant's Guild also ran the town. In Liverpool the guildsmen elected an official called the Reeve to run the town on a day-to-day basis. The first mention of a Mayor of Liverpool was in 1351.

    1235: Liverpool Castle built

    In 1235 King John built Liverpool Castle on the spot of present-day Victoria Monument on Castle Street and offered inducement to encourage settlement. The village slowly expanded and limited trade began between Liverpool and Ireland. The castle remained there for nearly 500 years until it was removed in 1726.

    Skins and hides were imported from Ireland. Iron and wool were exported from Liverpool. Despite its small size Liverpool sent two MPs to Parliament in 1295.


    Next five centuries: Little growth, but Stanley & Molyneux families come into prominence

    Despite the King's efforts, Liverpool remained a relatively small and unimportant borough for the next 500 years. Even up to the middle of the 16th century the population was still only around 500.

    During this time there were two families - the Stanleys and the Molyneuxs - who gained prominence and competed with each other, just about avoiding civil war. The two families later come together during the English Civil War (1642) to fight against roundheads (Parliamentarians) and royalists who were supported by neighbouring Manchester.

    John Moore, from prominent Puritan family who lived in Old Hall, was appointed military governor of the town to fight against the royalists. In the ensuing fierce battle, the royalist lost 1,500 men but eventually won. They exacted a bloody revenge on the town by killing many of its people.

    Liverpool maintained a low profile. The town rose to prominence in 18th century as part of booming, notorious transatlantic trade.

    16th - 19th century: Controls over 80% of Britain's and 40% of Europe's slave trade commerce

    Colonisation of North America and growing trade in the New World along with Britain's rise in naval power shifted focus from Mediterranean to Atlantic. Ports like Liverpool and Bristol became heart of civilisation. The city merchants became involved in (Trans)Atlantic slave trade. The slave trade refers to Africans, mainly from central and western Africa, being transported as slaves predominantly to colonies in North and South America by European traders, especially the Portuguese, the British, the French, the Spanish, and the Dutch, and Americans. The traders had outposts on the African coast where they purchased people from African slave-traders. These slave market regions included countries such as Congo, Angola, Togo, Benin, Niger, Cameroon, Gabon, Ghana, Senegal, Mozambique, and Madagascar.

    Flung in foreign destination, the slaves were made to labour on coffee, cocoa, cotton and sugar plantations, in gold and silver mines, in rice fields, the construction industry, timber, and shipping or in houses to work as servants. An estimated 15 million - others estimate up to 25 million - Africans were transported as slaves to the Americas between 1540, when ships from Portugal first reached the continent and began to enslave people, and 1850.

    Landowners in the Americas quickly concluded that African slaves were more suitable than the English or Irish. The reasons usually stated for African slaves being preferred is that they could easily be bought from traders on the West African coast and were more immune to disease than indigenous Americans or imported white slaves. Although there is some truth in these arguments, the main reason was that Africans made good slave labourers because many of them were skilled artisans.

    However the hard life of a slave meant nearly one-third of all slaves dying within three years, creating a constant demand to replace them.


    Liverpool's waterfront built with the blood money of slavery

    At one stage the trade was the monopoly of the Royal Africa Company, operating out of London, but following the loss of the company's monopoly in 1689, Bristol and Liverpool merchants became increasingly involved in the trade. The port of Liverpool's strategic geographical position in the north-west of England, with ready access via a network of rivers and canals to the goods traded in Africa - textiles from Lancashire and Yorkshire, copper and brass from Staffordshire and Cheshire and guns from Birmingham - made it ideal for it to be a major player in the slave trade. Slave ships were often built or repaired in Liverpool.

    On 3 October 1699 the 'Liverpool Merchant' became the first recorded slave ship to sail for Africa from Liverpool. Fuelled by profitable slave trade and other West Indies trade, Liverpool Merchant arrived in Barbados on 18 September 1700 with a cargo of 220 enslaved Africans. Part owner Sir Thomas Johnson is known as the 'founder of modern Liverpool'.

    During this period the city grew rapidly.

    By the late 17th century, one out of every four ships that left Liverpool harbour was a slave trading ship. Other British cities also profited from the slave trade. Birmingham, the largest gun producing town in Britain at the time, supplied guns to be traded for slaves. 75% of all sugar produced in the plantations came to London to supply the highly lucrative coffee houses there.

    The growth of the trade was slow but solid. By the 1730s about 15 ships a year were leaving for Africa and this grew to about 50 a year in the 1750s, rising to just over a 100 in each of the early years of the 1770s. Now, Liverpool was sending more slave ships than Bristol and London combined. By 1795, Liverpool controlled over 80% of the entire British trade and 40% of the entire European slave trade. It was the European capital of the transatlantic slave trade.

    Numbers declined during the American War of Independence (1775-83), but rose to a new peak of 120 - 130 ships annually in the two decades preceding the abolition of the trade in 1807. Probably 75% of all European slaving ships at this period left from Liverpool. Overall, more than 5,000 slaving voyages started from Liverpool and Liverpool ships forcibly transported a staggering half of the 3 million Africans carried across the Atlantic by British slavers, despite the port not being involved in the trade in the early days. It is no wonder the slave trade is sometimes called the Maafa by African and African-American scholars, meaning "holocaust" or "great disaster" in Swahili.

    But it wasn't only Liverpool's rich and influential merchants who heavily invested in this dark practice. At least 25 of Liverpool's lord mayors, holding office for a total of 35 years between 1700 and 1820, were closely involved in the slave trade.

    In Liverpool, there were 10 large merchant houses engaged in the slave trade and 349 smaller firms. Shop windows displayed shining chains and manacles, devices to force open the mouths of slaves who refused to eat, neck rings, thumb screws and other implements of torment and oppression.

    Not all of Liverpool's wealth was thanks to the slave trade, but it was undoubtedly the backbone of the town's prosperity. Slaving and related trades may have occupied a third and possibly a half of Liverpool's shipping activity in the period 1750 to 1807. The wealth acquired by the town was substantial and the stimulus it gave to trading and industrial development throughout the north-west of England and the Midlands was of crucial importance.


    The precise reasons for Liverpool's dominance of the trade are still debated by historians. Some suggest that Liverpool merchants were being pushed out of the other Atlantic trades, such as sugar and tobacco. Others claim that the town's merchants were more enterprising. A significant factor was the port's position with ready access via a network of rivers and canals to the goods traded in Africa - textiles from Lancashire and Yorkshire, copper and brass from Staffordshire and Cheshire and guns from Birmingham.

    It would be wrong to attribute all of Liverpool's success to the slave trade, but it was undoubtedly the backbone of the town's prosperity. Historian, David Richardson suggests that slaving and related trades may have occupied a third and possibly a half of Liverpool's shipping activity in the period 1750 to 1807. The wealth acquired by the town was substantial and the stimulus it gave to trading and industrial development throughout the north-west of England and the Midlands was of crucial importance.

    International Slavery Museum, Liverpool, UK

    The personal and civic wealth gained from slaving cemented the foundations for the port's future growth.

    International Slavery Museum, Liverpool, UK

    At Pier Head, buildings resonant of the British Empire such as the Liver Building dominate a landscape whose wealth was built with the slave ships that once docked just a few hundred yards away.



    Attitude to slavery began to change in Britain around 1780s. In 1787 the Society of Friends (Quakers) handed a petition for the suppression of the slave trade to Parliament. Naturally, they were met with opposition from the city merchants and organisations who benefitted heavily from the slave trade, including Liverpool Town Corporation.

    Eventually, following years of heated debate and public meetings, the Act for the Abolition of The Transatlantic Slave Trade was passed in 1807. The last British slaver, the Kitty's Amelia, left Liverpool under Captain Hugh Crow in July 1807. However, the subsequent Slavery Abolition Act wasn't passed until 1830 and only came into force in 1834. But, despite the abolition, illegal trading continued for a further 30 years.

    Even after abolition, Liverpool continued to develop the trading connections which had been established by the slave trade, both in Africa and the Americas.

    And though Liverpool was a major part of the notorious triangular trade route, it was also home to three men who pioneered the abolitionist movement: William Rathbone, William Roscoe and Edward Rushton. Many influential and prominent local women and powerful philanthropists and merchants also opposed slavery.

    In Liverpool, William Roscoe was one of the best known abolitionists. He wrote poetry and pamphlets in favour of abolition. Opinion in Liverpool was generally pro-slavery and like other abolitionists, Roscoe tended to work behind the scenes rather than openly declaring his views.

    International Slavery Museum, Liverpool, UK

    Defending the slave trade in the British Parliament in 1806, Liverpool's MP, General Bonastre Tarleton, himself from a slave-owning family, described with pride Liverpool's rise 'to become the second place in wealth and population in the British Empire'. During the same debate, William Roscoe and William Wilberforce worked on behalf of the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade and were adamant that 'nothing short of an entire and immediate abolition will satisfy'. The Parliamentary vote resulted in the abolition of slavery in Britain the following year.


    1999: Official apology

    On 9 December 1999 Liverpool City Council passed a formal motion apologising for the City's part in the slave trade. It was unanimously agreed that Liverpool acknowledges its responsibility for its involvement in three centuries of the slave trade. The City Council made an unreserved apology for Liverpool's involvement and the continual effect of slavery on Liverpool's Black communities.

    The apology by Liverpool City Council in 1999, when remorse was expressed for the port’s role in the slave trade, provoked controversy itself when anti-racism campaigners argued it was too little, too late. They were particularly angered that the meeting was held in the town hall, where the walls are adorned with images of slaves.


    2007: International Slavery Museum established

    On 23 August 2007 - annual Slavery Remembrance Day and 200 years after the abolition of the British slave trade - the International Slavery Museum was opened in Liverpool's Albert Dock, at the centre of a World Heritage site and only yards away from the dry docks where 18th century slave trading ships were repaired and fitted out. This unique museum looks at all aspects of slavery and has become an international hub for information on human rights issues. By December 2016 the museum had more than 3.8 million visitors.

    Former Liverpool slave ship captain John Newton became a reverend and an anti-slavery campaigner after his career at sea when he too was a slave trader. He wrote the famous hymn 'Amazing Grace' in 1772. John lived to see slavery outlawed in Great Britain in 1807, dying in December of that year.

    1715: Old Dock

    Since Roman times, the port city of Chester and River Dee were being used for maritime trade. But by 1715 the River Dee became silted. When larger ships could no longer sail into Chester they switched to nearby port city of Liverpool on River Mersey.

    With increasing number of ships using the port, it was struggling to cope. In 1708 the merchants who controlled Liverpool Corporation employed Thomas Steers, one of Britain's leading canal engineers, to find a solution.

    He converted the mouth of the Pool - from which Liverpool allegedly gets its name - into a dock with quaysides and a river gate and on 31 August 1715 the Old Dock opened. It was now possible for ships to load and unload whatever the state of the tide - a revolutionary facility. Known originally as "Thomas Steer's Dock", it was the world's first commercial wet dock and laid the foundation for Liverpool to become a world-beating maritime trading centre. Its construction was a technological innovation and represented the start of Liverpool as a Maritime Mercantile City - which would be the theme on which Liverpool would later secure its UNESCO World Heritage Site Status.

    The dock was technically very difficult to build and cost £12,000, double its original estimate. The Corporation was nearly bankrupted but its success encouraged further rapid increases in overseas trade through Liverpool. It could accommodate up to 100 ships.

    When built, the Old Dock was a huge risk but it paid off handsomely, paving the way to many decades of dock expansion on both sides of the river. It was one of Liverpool's greatest contributions to progress in world trade and commerce.

    The impact of this radical structure was immense and London, Bristol and Chester lost significant amounts of trade throughout the 18th century as a result.


    This is of so great a benefit and its like is not to be seen anywhere in England

    Daniel Defoe (1715), author of 'Robinson Crusoe'

    This [Old Dock] development on the mouth of the Pool saw a small village transform into a major port within 100 years.


    1846: Royal Albert Dock

    In the early 19th century the Old Dock was considered too small and obsolete to handle the growing size of shipping using the port. On 31 August 1826, 111 years after it first opened, the Old Dock was closed and filled in.

    Construction began on a new complex which would consist of number of wet and dry docks. On 30 July 1846 the Royal Albert Dock was officially opened by His Royal Highness Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's consort. It was designed by dock engineer and architect Jesse Hartley who had proposed the idea in 1839. Work began in 1841 following the passing of an Act of Parliament, and the dock opened in 1845. A year later it was officially opened by Prince Albert. This unique complex had vast warehouses on its quaysides to securely store goods arriving from across the globe.

    In 1845 the Albert Dock opened. It covered about seven and a half acres (about 3 football pitches), had cost £721,756 to build (about £41 million today) and could welcome sailing ships of between 500-1000 ton cargo capacity. The warehouses were not complete at this time, and were still unfinished at the official opening on 30 July 1846. Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's consort, was guest of honour at a lavish party to mark the occasion.

    The proximity of the simple yet functional warehouses, which still encircle the dock today, allowed the rapid unloading and turn around of ships, and provided security for valuable cargoes. They were bonded which meant that import tax became payable only when the goods were ready to leave the warehouse, by which time the owner had sold the goods and raised the necessary funds. This also meant that customs men did not have to be on site when the cargo arrived.


    Liverpool's docks dominated global trade by the early 19th century. When it opened in 1846, Albert Dock changed the way the docks worked here forever. Its warehouses were fireproof and secure; traders could do deals before their import taxes were due; hydraulic cranes hauled heavy cargoes across the flagstones. The speed with which ships unloaded and turned around was cut in half.

    Its serene waters stretched the size of three football pitches, and construction cost the equivalent of £41 million today. From maritime to the arts, the Mersey has always played a central role in the city's cultural life, and the Dock's vast size stamped its imprint on the waterfront we know and love.


    2001: Excavations and re-opens to public almost 200 years later

    In 2001 Oxford Archaeology North undertook excavations to reveal the oldest structure in Liverpool city centre. In 2008 the excavation featured in Channel Channel 4's Time Team special programme 'Lost Dock of Liverpool'.

    The owner of Liverpool ONE, Grosvenor, incorporated the Old Dock into the design and developed a visitor facility which opened to the public on 4 May 2010 - almost 200 years after it closed - and is run by National Museums Liverpool. Today, the dock lies underground beneath Liverpool ONE, sandwiched between Chavasse Park and the Hilton Hotel.

    It is free for public viewing, though visitors are recommended to book the tour due to limited spaces.

    During the tour you will see a large portion of the hand-made brick walls of the Old Dock, rising more than 20ft from the bed of the Pool (which gave Liverpool it’s name) which is clearly visible.

    A modern bridge and walkways give views over the walls and you will also see a bricked-up ancient tunnel in the dock wall, which is believed to be hundreds of years older than the Old Dock and may have linked Liverpool Castle with the Pool.


    19th century: Economic and population growth

    As the maritime heart of the largest empire the wold has ever seen, the town of Liverpool underwent phenomenal expansion during Britain's greatest global dominance. The town expanded throughout the northern-based Industrial Revolution (1760 - c. 1840) and it became wealthy. A number of buildings were constructed during this phase.

    By late 19th century 40% of world's trade was passing through Liverpool. It handled general cargo, freight, and raw materials such as coal and cotton. Liverpool was considered "Second City of (British) Empire", eclipsing even London for commerce at times.

    Its economic strength drew immigrants from within and outside the country, including South Asians, Chinese, and Africans, and the population rapidly drew.

    1830: Liverpool and Manchester Railway - first commercial railway in the world

    In 1830, Liverpool and Manchester became the first cities to have an intercity rail link, through the Liverpool and Manchester Railway.

    1840s: Arrival of Irish immigrants

    Liverpool was a major port of departure for Irish and English emigrants to North America. During 1840s an estimated half million Irish escaped Great Potato Famine and arrived in Liverpool. Many left for North America but a sizeable group remained and settled permanently in Liverpool, significantly increasing the Catholic population.

    Analysis of the pre-Famine 1841 census reveals that Irish-born people accounted for over 17% of the population in Liverpool.By 1851 this figure had risen to over 22% (83,813) of the city's population although the number of Irish in the city declined to 15.6% (76,761) by 1871. Whilst many Irish settled during this time in the city, a large percentage re-emigrated to the USA or moved to the industrial centres of Lancashire, Yorkshire and the Midlands.

    Whilst the Famine years saw the greatest number of Irish people entering the city, there were also other periods where a notable number of Irish migrants came into Liverpool. For instance, Irish migration into the city was such that by the late 1930s it was cause of dissent amongst some sections of the local community and politicians. A further 'wave' of Irish settlement occurred at the end of the 1940s as Irish workers helped assist with the city's post-war regeneration.


    1940s: 80 air raids on Liverpool during The Blitz of World War II

    During the Second World War (1939 - 1945), the German Luftwaffe (Air Force) carried out about 80 air raids on Merseyside. The 'Liverpool Blitz' as it was known, devastated homes, reduced docks and their neighbourhoods to rubble, and killed about 4,000 people, including 2,736 in Liverpool, 454 in Birkenhead and 424 in Bootle. Most of the air raids took place between August 1940 and January 1942. These reached their peak in the seven-night blitz in May 1941. The bombing was aimed mainly at the docks, railways and factories, but large areas were destroyed or damaged on both sides of the Mersey.

    Liverpool was the most heavily bombed British city outside London. The city was a prime target for attack because, with Birkenhead, its 'twin' across the Mersey, it was the country's biggest west coast port. Every week, ships arrived in the River Mersey bringing supplies of food and other cargoes from the USA and Canada. Without these supplies, Britain would have lost the war.

    There were over 50 German air raids on Merseyside between August and Christmas 1940. In September and October, they occurred about once every two nights. Each raid could last from a few minutes up to ten hours. Most raids were by a few aircraft, but the largest involved over 300. The heaviest raids were on the nights of 28 November, 20 and 21 December ('the Christmas Blitz').

    The combined weight of attacks took a growing toll. By the end of April 1941, the area had endured over 60 raids, at least five being major. Many had damaged the docks, but only a few seriously. Buildings, roads and homes had been destroyed throughout the area. Over 2,000 people had been killed, and many more badly injured.

    Merseyside Maritime Museum

    'Bombed Out Church'

    One of the most poignant symbol is the shelling of St. Luke's Church in the May Blitz. Located in the heart of Liverpool city centre, the church was hit by an incendiary device and set the building on fire for three days. As it struck in the early hours, no lives were lost.

    In the aftermath of the war, Liverpool City Council proposed to knock down St. Luke's Church as part of the rejuvenation. But this was halted and today the 'Bombed Out Church', as its popularly known, remains as a roofless silhouette as a memorial to the war. Its doors however remain closed.

    When the flames are finally extinguished, St Luke's is revealed to have been almost completely hollowed, a shell of a church. This by no means diminishes people's love for St Luke's, rather it increases its standing in their hearts, retaining an iconic pull within the community and beyond. It becomes the 'Bombed Out Church', like the city itself a survivor, a hero...

    Bombed Out Church website

    1960s: Music and art scene

    The war devastated the Liverpool landscape. The city was struggling. The council was faced with the mammoth task of replacing bombed houses and buildings, flattened town centre, and slum areas. Problems were further compounded by the sharp decline in traditional manufacturing industries and the advent of containerisation making the city's docks obsolete. Unemployment rate in Liverpool rose to one of the highest in UK and there was a housing crisis.

    Like rest of Europe, Liverpool focussed on rebuilding and looking ahead to years of peace. Many new council houses and flats were built and offices and shops popped up everywhere. There was a building bonanza which led to the Roman Catholic Cathedral being consecrated (1967) and the Anglican Cathedral being completed (1978).

    Overspill towns were built near the city at Kirkby and Skelmersdale. Unfortunately demolishing terraced houses and replacing them with high rise flats broke up communities. In 1974 the boundaries of Liverpool were changed so it became part of an administrative area called Merseyside.


    'Merseybeat' led by The Beatles

    During this testing period, it was the art industry that provided escape. In the early 1960s Liverpool became internationally renowned for its culture, particularly as the centre of the "Merseybeat". The Beatles were born. The Fab Four members of the group were born in Liverpool during the Second World War. The band rose to international stardom and dominated the music charts globally. Elsewhere, Liverpool poets added their magic and made the city a centre of youth culture.

    Even in the 20th century, Liverpool has made a lasting contribution, remembered in the success of The Beatles, who were strongly influenced by Liverpool's role as an international port city, which exposed them to seafarers, culture and music from around the world, especially America.


    1981: Recession and social problems leading to Toxteth Riots

    The boom of 1950s and 1960s went sour in the late 1970s and 1980s as Liverpool suffered from recession like the rest of the country. Social problems were simmering, unemployment soared and rioting took place on the streets. The most infamous were the Toxteth riots of summer 1981.

    In July 1981 the long-standing tensions between the local police and black community erupted and riot broke out in the inner-city Toxteth area of the city following the arrest of local young man Leroy Cooper. Similar riot had taken place few months earlier in April in Brixton, London.

    In 1981 unemployment was at a 50-year high in Britain and Liverpool had one of the highest rate of unemployment in the country. Merseyside police force, at the time, had a poor reputation among the minority communities. The hardline tactics and perceived high-handedness used by the then Chief Constable Kenneth Oxford resulted in full-scale riots breaking out in July.

    Such was the scale of violence that erupted between the police and youths, police reinforcements were drafted in from forces across England including Greater Manchester Police, Lancashire, Cumbria, Birmingham and even Devon to try to control the unrest. Nearly 1,000 police officers were injured - 300 on one night alone - 500 arrests were made, 100 cars were burned out and one man, David Moore from Wavertree, was killed by a police van dispersing rioters. Police officers were accused of his manslaughter, although they were eventually acquitted.

    Police mounted extra patrols in the area and early the following evening, 4 July 1981, they came under attack from a crowd armed with bricks and petrol bombs. The fuse had been lit on nine days of disorder that saw hundreds of police and public injured, one man dead, 500 arrested, 70 buildings destroyed and damage estimated at £11m.

    For the first time CS gas had been used on the British mainland, and many feared the worst - an English re-run of the Ulster Troubles that had rumbled on for more than a decade.

    ...And there was a fairly new Conservative government. Margaret Thatcher had routed the Labour party and swept the Tories back into power just two years earlier, but in Liverpool and similar cities the Conservatives were struggling for survival.

    With an economic crisis to deal with and the combative Mrs Thatcher in charge with a thumping majority, honeyed words for those trapped in Tory-free zones were a long way down the list of priorities.

    On the ground in Toxteth the worst of the violence took place on July 5 and 6 as mayhem broke out in Upper Parliament Street and Lodge Lane. Out of the many buildings destroyed, the two most familiar landmarks were the Racquet Club and, only a couple of hundred yards away, the Rialto, a former ballroom and cinema, and by then a furniture warehouse.

    Liverpool Echo (2013)

    Regeneration effort

    The subsequent Scarman Report (although primarily directed at the Brixton Riot of 1981) recognised that the riots did represent the result of social problems, such as poverty and deprivation. The Government responded by sending Michael Heseltine (later Deputy Prime Minister) as "Minister for Merseyside" to set up the Merseyside Task Force and launch a series of initiatives, including the Liverpool international garden festival (1984) and the Mersey Basin Campaign aimed at regeneration in the area.

    The repercussions, though, go on to this day.

    Liverpool Echo (2013)

    2004: Six areas of Liverpool awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status

    In July 2004 six areas of Liverpool historic city centre and docks were awarded World Heritage Site status by UNESCO. These area are:

    1. The Pier Head = Stretching from The Strand to the Mersey and includes the Royal Liver Building, the Cunard Building, the Port of Liverpool Building and the George's Dock Ventilation Shaft
    2. The Albert Dock and Wapping Dock = Also includes the other nearby docks – Salthouse Dock, Canning Docks, and Dukes Dock, as well as the massive Wapping Warehouse. This area even stretches into what's now Liverpool ONE as it includes the site of Old Dock, the world's first commercial enclosed wet dock
    3. The Stanley Dock conservation area
    4. The commercial district (Castle Street/Dale Street/Old Hall Street) = Stretching from The Strand to Hatton Garden, taking in areas including the Cavern Quarter and stunning buildings including India Buildings, the former Martins Bank headquarters and Liverpool Town Hall
    5. The William Brown Street Cultural Quarter = This includes St George's Hall and the group of buildings running up William Brown Street, including the World Museum, Central Library, the Walker Art Gallery and the former County Sessions House. It also includes St Johns Gardens, St George's Plateau, and Lime Street station
    6. Lower Duke Street = The Merchants Quarter including warehouses around Duke Street, Henry Street, Hanover Street and Parr Street, as well as the Bluecoat arts centre and warehouses in College Lane, now part of Liverpool ONE

    But the World Heritage status has left out many other famous buildings and areas, for example the two cathedrals (Anglican and Metropolitan) and the Georgian Quarter.

    Nevertheless, this prestigious international status now put Liverpool among world famous attractions such as the Taj Mahal and Great Wall of China. The city is also one of just 32 World Heritage Sites in the UK.

    The Buffer Zone

    The World Heritage Site's "Buffer Zone" means World Heritage status has to be considered in all planning decisions.

    In Liverpool, the Buffer zone includes most of the city centre and all of its Mersey waterfront, from close to Liverpool Marina in the south to Sandon Half-Tide Dock in the north. It includes the area between Parliament Street in the south and Leeds Street in the north with Hope Street and Great Newtown Street forming the eastern boundary.

    From Leeds Street north into the docklands, the Buffer Zone includes the streets around Regent Road and Great Howard Street, as well as an area around the Leeds-Liverpool Canal.

    Maritime Mercantile City

    Liverpool's bid centred on Liverpool as Maritime Mercantile City. It fulfilled three of the criterion which UNESCO use when making a decision. The six areas were praised for their 'integrity' and 'authenticity' and the 'protection' and 'management' they provided to the historical buildings.

    The key areas that demonstrate Outstanding Universal Value in terms of innovative technologies and dock construction from the 18th to the early 20th century and the quality and innovation of its architecture and cultural activities are contained within the boundaries of the six areas forming the property.

    UNESCO (2004)

    2008: European Capital of Culture

    2004: Paradise Project

    In 2004 Liverpool embarked on a grand regeneration programme in the city centre known as the Paradise Project headed by the developer Grosvenor, the Duke of Westminster's company. The innovative £920 million urban regeneration project was Liverpool's most ambitious city centre development scheme. Irish-born civil engineer Peter Ryan of Laing O'Rourke, who had built Bluewater in Kent and other mega complexes around the world, was tasked with spearheading the construction.

    There are similarities with other projects I have done, but this offers much more interesting challenges because it is part of a busy working city centre. It will make for a more interesting project.

    We will be using our own resources to construct foundations and beam work. That way, a lot of the work can be done in our own centres and brought to the site for assembly.

    It will mean I can ensure that everything is made to a very high standard in a safe environment. Beneath Chavasse Park, we will be creating a car park for 2,500 vehicles. The bill for the concrete alone will be £45m.

    The biggest challenge will be the building facades. They will be added last and we will want finishes that look interesting and stunning. The project will need to look exciting.

    Liverpool Echo (2004)

    In phase one of the project Liverpool ONE opened mid-2008. The site included six distinct districts and hosts the best retail brands, residential and leisure facilities.

    The Paradise Project transformed Liverpool and strengthened its chances of winning the European Capital of Culture award.

    2003: City of Liverpool beat five other British cities to honour

    On 4 June 2003 Liverpool was named as European Capital of Culture for 2008. The announcement was made by the then Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell live on TV. Liverpool beat Newcastle & Gateshead, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff and Oxford to the honour. Liverpool's bid was led by Sir Bob Scott.

    This is like Liverpool winning the Champions League, Everton winning the double and the Beatles reforming all on the same day - and Steve Spielberg coming to the city to make a Hollywood blockbuster about it.

    Councillor Mike Storey, leader of Liverpool city council (2003)

    Liverpool succeeded Luxembourg and became only the second British city to be designated the honour (Glasgow was the first in 1990).

    2008: Jam-packed year

    In 2007 the city of Liverpool celebrated its 800th birthday. On 12 January 2008 the opening ceremony kicked off with thousands gathering at St George's Hall for a 40-minute "People's Opening" to watch Ringo Starr play a gig on top of a 100ft platform above the rooftop. It was the Beatles' man first public visit to the city in almost two decades. The last time the 67-year-old drummer performed in Liverpool was at the Empire Theatre in 1992.

    A spectacular year-long programme with more than 350 events witnessed many memorable events, functions and exhibitions taking place throughout the city, many of which were free. Among the many highlights were Sir Simon Rattle conducting the Royal Liverpool Philarmonic, Sir Paul McCartney performing at Liverpool's football ground, Tall Ships Races taking place, over 100 SuperLambBananas dotted throughout the city, and a 60 feet machine spider escaping through the Queensway Tunnel!

    Echo Arena Liverpool

    The Echo Arena Liverpool officially opened on 12 January 2008, the same day of the opening ceremony of European Capital of Culture. Located on the riverside in Albert Dock, this 11,000 capacity arena and convention centre finally gave the city a venue capable of holding world's biggest bands and national and international events. It opened with a bang, holding the world famous MTV Europe Music Awards and BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

  • Places of worship

    Al-Rahma Masjid: Capacity to hold up to 1,000 worshippers. Previous mosque built in 1960s. New three-storey mosque opened in 2008 during Liverpool's tenure as European Capital of Culture. More traditional in appearance with a golden dome and crescent on top. During weekly Friday 'Jummah' prayers and Muslim festivals of Eid, the Pakistan Centre opposite used as temporary prayer space. The Liverpool Muslim Society was set up in 1953.

    Liverpool Anglican Cathedral (aka Cathedral Church of Christ in Liverpool): Dedicated to Christ and the Blessed Virgin. 189 metres (620 ft) long outside, making it the longest church building that is a cathedral in the world. Winning design of 22-year-old Roman Catholic student Giles Gilbert Scott chosen by assessors George F. Bodley and Norman Shaw in 1903. Foundation stone laid by King Edward VII in 1904. In 1910 Scott revised original Gothic design based on Durham Cathedral with two towers to a modern style with single, central, exceptionally tall tower topped with a lantern.Tower named after the Vestey family who made largest financial contribution. Consecrated in 1924, but regular services were not held until 1940. Construction of the tower was finished in 1942, but the Second World War and inflation hindered the work and the completion of the building only came in 1978: too late for Scott, who had died in 1960. Built mainly of sandstone quarried from the Liverpool suburb of Woolton. Belltower is the largest, and also one of the tallest (100.8m / 331 ft) in the world. Houses the highest (67 m / 219 ft) and heaviest (31 tons) ringing peal of bells in the world. One of cathedral's stained glass windows shows designer Scott and builder Bodley sitting together.

    Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral (aka Roman Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral): Grade II* listed building. Known locally as "Paddy's Wigwam" or the "Mersey Funnel". The cathedral's architect was Englishman Frederick Gibberd, the winner of a worldwide design competition. Construction began in 1962, and took five years. Earlier designs for a Catholic cathedral in Liverpool had been proposed in 1853, 1933, and 1953, but none was completed. Following purchase of the present 9-acre (36,000 m2) site at Brownlow Hill in 1930,[6] Sir Edwin Lutyens (1869–1944), an Anglican, was commissioned to provide a design which would be an appropriate response to the Giles Gilbert Scott-designed Neo-gothic Anglican cathedral then being built further along Hope Street. Lutyens' design would have created a massive structure that would have become the second-largest church in the world. It would have had the world's largest dome, with a diameter of 168 feet (51 m) compared to the 137.7 feet (42.0 m) diameter on St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Building work based on Lutyens' design began on Whit Monday, 5 June 1933, being paid for mostly by the contributions of working-class Catholics of the burgeoning industrial port. In 1941 the restrictions of World War II wartime and a rising cost from £3 million to £27 million (£991 million as of 2011), forced construction to stop. In 1956 work recommenced on the crypt, which was finished in 1958. Thereafter, Lutyens' design for the cathedral was considered too expensive and so was abandoned with only the crypt complete. The competition to design the cathedral was held in 1959. The requirement was first, for a congregation of 3,000 (which was later reduced to 2,000) to be able to see the altar, in order that they could be more involved in the celebration of the Mass, and second, for the Lutyens crypt to be incorporated in the structure. Gibberd achieved these requirements by designing a circular building with the altar at its centre, and by transforming the roof of the crypt into an elevated platform, with the cathedral standing at one end of it.

    Princes Road Synagogue: Designed by William James Audsley and George Ashdown Audsley, architect brothers from Edinburgh, who built Princes Road Synagogue at a cost of £14,975 8s 11d. It was consecrated on September 2, 1874. combining Gothic Revival and Moorish Revival architecture. The internal decoration is particularly splendid. The ladies of the Liverpool Old Hebrew Congregation decided to hold a Bazaar and luncheon in February 1874. They invited the important dignitaries and arranged for the band of the Coldstream Guards to play. The event raised the then massive sum of £3,000 with some change. The £3,000 was donated to the synagogue for the decoration of the interior. In today's terms it was something in the region of £750,000.

    Historical places

    Albert Dock: Constructed in 1846. Designed by Jesse Hartley and Philip Hardwick. Opened by Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria and named after him.This event marked the first occasion in the Liverpool's history in which a member of the Royal Family had made a state visit to the city and as a result the occasion was marked with a major celebrations.Houses largest single collection of Grade I listed buildings anywhere in Britain. First structure in Britain to be built from cast iron, brick and stone, with no structural wood. Therefore became the first non-combustible warehouse system in the world. In 1848 modified to feature world's first hydraulic cranes. Damaged during air raids during the May Blitz of 1941. Numerous plans were developed for the re-use of the buildings but none came to fruition and in 1972 the dock was finally closed. Redevelopment began in 1981, when the Merseyside Development Corporation was set up. Officially re-opened in 1988.

    St George's Hall:

    Bombed out Church (aka St Luke's Church): Today one of the most vivid symbols of the Liverpool Blitz is the burnt outer shell of St Luke's Church, located in the city centre, which was destroyed by an incendiary bomb on 5 May 1941. The church was gutted during the firebombing but remained standing and, in its prominent position in the city, was a stark reminder of what Liverpool and the surrounding area had endured. It eventually became a garden of remembrance to commemorate the thousands of local men, women and children who died as a result of the bombing of their city and region.

    Liverpool landmarks

    Three Graces (Royal Liver Building, Cunard Building, Port of Liverpool Building)

    Walker Art Gallery


    Oriel Chambers

    Liverpool One

    Speke Hall Tudor Manor House

    Liverpool Lime Street Station

    Liverpool parks & stadiums

    Sefton Park:

    Liverpool Football Club

    Everton Football Club


    Hornby Model Railways

    Grand National

    River Mersey

    Liverpool John Lennon Airport

    Echo Arena


    • William Roscoe ()
    • The Beatles ()
    • William Gladstone ()
    • William Abdullah Quilliam () The first ever mosque in England was in Liverpool; it was opened at 8 Brougham Terrace by a solicitor and Muslim revert William Abdullah Quilliam on 25 December 1889. That mosque has recently been refurbished by the Muslim Enterprise Development Service and is now called the Abdullah Quilliam Society.
    • James Picton () Liverpool's greatest historian
    • John Moores ()
    • Simon Rattle () One of Liverpool's great musical exports
    • Peter Sissons ()
    • Beth Tweedle ()
    • Lynda La Plante (Born 1943) Author, screenwriter & former actress. Famous for writing Prime Suspect television crime series. Formed her own television production company, La Plante Productions, in 1994.
    • Frank Hornby (1863 - 1936) Creator of three most popular toys of 20th century: Meccano, Hornby Model Railways, and Dinky Toys. No formal engineering education. Experimented with new ideas in home workshop. Helped initially by employer David Elliot. Later became a millionaire. Died of chronic heart condition.
  • Bengali history in Liverpool

    Coming soon

    Bengali people of Liverpool

    Coming soon

Important information, tips, hints, ...ittadhi

  • Liverpool city's official website:
  • John Lennon Airport telephone: +44 (0) 871 521 8484 (general enquiries)
  • Royal Hospital telephone:
  • Lime Street Railway: 0345 711 4141
  • Police Control Room:
  • Shops opening hours: 9am - 5pm everyday except Sunday when it's 11am - 4pm
  • Coach station: Located in city centre next to John Lewis in Liverpool ONE

May Allah bless Liverpool and our People. Ameen.